Prague, March 6 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman insists on that Czech journalist Ferdinand Peroutka (1895-1978) wrote an article saying Hitler is a gentleman despite a recent court ruling, he said on Prima television yesterday.
The court decided on Wednesday that the Presidential Office must apologise to Peroutka’s granddaughter Terezie Kaslova for Zeman’s claim because it has not been possible to prove it. The verdict is not yet valid.
“I am not yet as senile as not to remember it because the article shocked me. I am not as senile as to invent the article,” Zeman said.
The Presidential Office wants to appeal the verdict and to take the case perhaps as far as the Constitutional Court.
Zeman said he has apologised publicly several times for that the article has not yet been found.
“It has not been found, from which the judge concludes that the article does not exist. It is similar as if you said God does not exist because no one has found him,” Zeman said.
He said the article was also mentioned by the late culture minister Pavel Dostal in 2002, but Peroutka’s granddaughter Terezie Kaslova did not sue him.
Zeman repeated that Peroutka wrote other similar articles during the Second Republic, in which he leaned towards Nazism.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said this will be the subject of the appeal – the fact that the judge did not focus on evidence arising from the historical context and Peroutka’s historical statements.
Zeman said the major problem why Ovcacek has not found the article is that the magazine Pritomnost (Presence), in which Peroutka published hia works, appeared in two issues and that some of his articles were censored in the second issue.
Peroutka was a prominent democratic journalist during the interwar period. He was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945. He left the country after the 1948 communist coup and later worked for Radio Free Europe. He died in the United States.
The dispute about the protection of Peroutka’s personality concerns Zeman’s statements at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) concentration camp, held in Prague in January 2015.